Staff Behavior Standard

HR Standards

Staff Behavior Standard

Staff shall behave according to the following statement of behaviors

This Standard is achieved when:      

Staff have demonstrated Positive Behaviors

The following descriptions of positive behaviors help SIL staff maintain high standards of ethics and professional conduct: 

  1. Discernment- effectively diagnosing situations or conditions and making good decisions based on biblical principles

  2. Integrity – meeting the highest ethical standards in all professional dealings, thereby ensuring deeds are congruent with biblical principles   
  1. Trustworthiness – trusting, respecting and supporting one another, and striving to earn the trust of our colleagues and partners

  2. Embracing Diversity – learning from and respecting the different cultures in which we work. This includes the different perspectives of our colleagues because of  differences in age, gender, and culture

  3. Ingenuity – seeking new opportunities and out-of-the-ordinary solutions

  4. Partnering with Others – having an unwavering commitment to being a good partner who is focused on building productive, collaborative, trusting and beneficial relationships

  5. Protecting People and God’s Creation – placing a high priority on the health and safety of my colleagues and protecting the world God created

  6. High Performance – being committed to excellence in everything I do and striving to continually improve

  7. Responsiveness – being servant-hearted in my response to others

  8. Professionalism – acting with professional competence, diligence, and respect, in accordance with laws, rules or applicable regulations and organization policies
  1. Fairness – treating others fairly and as I would want to be treated

Staff have not demonstrated Unacceptable Behaviors

Unacceptable Behaviors, including actions that encourage or support such behaviors, are generally described as:

  1. Behaviors or patterns of behavior against SIL:
    1. Actions contrary to the written policies of SIL
    2. Endangering the order, harmony, welfare, character or good name of SIL
    3. Undermining the authority of the SIL leadership
    4. Untruthful, disrespectful, abusive or destructive communication
    5. The inappropriate use of social media
    6. The wrongful use of corporate funds or property
    7. Illegal, unethical, or dishonest business practices
    8. The lack of satisfactory work performance

  2. Behaviors or patterns of behavior that abuse substances:
    1. The inappropriate use of alcohol or legal drugs
    2. The use of illegal drugs

  3. Behaviors or patterns of behavior of inappropriate relational activity:
    1. Repeated and intentional viewing, production or distribution of pornography or child abuse images
    2. Sexual activity, outside of a marriage relationship between one man and one woman (such as adultery, premarital sexual activity, homosexual activity, incest)
    3. Indecent exposure
    4. Beastiality
    5. Transgender behaviors and/or practices
    6. Inappropriate emotional dependencies 
  1. Behaviors or patterns of behavior towards others:
    1. Conduct that endangers the safety or security of others
    2. Acts or threats of violence against others or self 
    3. Retaliation against staff who, in good faith, report suspected illegal or improper conduct
    4. Harassment*
      1. Discriminatory behavior
      2. Sexual harassment
      3. Personal harassment or bullying
    5. Child Abuse* 
      1. Sexual Abuse
      2. Physical Abuse
      3. Emotional Abuse
      4. Neglect
    6. Other inappropriate behaviors towards children*

* Defined below

Behavior Standard Definitions


Harassment is defined as any unwanted physical, verbal or nonverbal conduct that offends or humiliates another person, interferes with his or her ability to work or leads to adverse job-related consequences. It includes behavior that any reasonable individual ought to have known would be unwelcome. It may include direct or implied threats of losing one’s assignment or privileges of an assignment. Or it may include behaviors that may create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work setting. Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to, racial or sexual slurs, name calling, racist or sexist jokes, negative stereotyping, physical assault, bullying, threats, demeaning pictures, and graffiti. Harassment can also include ignoring a person, intentionally not passing on appropriate information and excluding him or her from business and social contexts. 

Harassment includes the following categories of behavior whether the behavior occurs once or many times:

  1. Discriminatory behavior

Discrimination refers to treating people differently, negatively, or adversely because of one or more of the following prohibited grounds of discrimination: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

  1. Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment refers to any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact of a sexual nature, whether on a one-time basis or a series of incidents, that might reasonably be expected to cause offence or humiliation. Sexual harassment also refers to behavior  that might reasonably be perceived as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment, an opportunity for training or promotion, receipt of services, or a contract.

Examples of such conduct, which if unwelcome and/or sufficiently severe and pervasive, constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: 

  1. Unwelcome sexual advances, whether they involve physical touching or not
  2. Sexual name-calling or sexually explicit or offensive jokes
  3. Written or oral references to sexual conduct
  4. Gossip regarding one’s sex life
  5. Graphic comments about an individual’s body, comments about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess
  6. Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or cartoons
  7. Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments
  8. Inquiries into one’s sexual experiences, or discussion of one’s sexual activities. This does not apply in the case of those conducting investigations of a breach of the Behavior Standards
  9. Personal harassment or bullying

Even one instance of objectionable conduct, comment, or display made that demeans, belittles, causes personal humiliation or embarrassment, or bullying behavior towards a person is unacceptable. Patterns of such behavior are considered personal harassment.  

Child Abuse

Child abuse is the maltreatment of a child under the age of 18. This often occurs in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust, or power, and endangers or impairs the health or welfare of a child. This includes sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and neglect. It is recognized that there are occasions when some professionals such as physicians or teachers may, within their professional boundaries, consider it necessary and appropriate to act in a manner outside the general guidelines given here.  One example would be, during a physically and/or emotionally uncomfortable medical examination. At such times, such professionals will always be held to their professional standards of conduct.

In order to establish godly boundaries, inappropriate behaviors with children are generally described as:

  • Doing things of a personal nature for children that they are able to do for themselves, including dressing, bathing, etc.
  • Excessive use of physical force or restraint
  • Touching the body of a child for the purpose of sexual gratification
  • Showing inappropriate affection when alone with a child
  • Corporal punishment of a child that is excessive 
  • Comments that relate to physique or body development. Flirtatious or seductive looks. Making sexually suggestive comments
  • Showing sexually-suggestive videos or playing sexually-suggestive games with any child
  • Any form of affection that is unwanted by the child
  • Any behavior that could be interpreted as sexual in nature
  • Shaming, belittling, humiliating, name-calling. Using harsh language that may frighten or threaten the child. Making derogatory remarks about the child, outside the acceptable scope of discipline
  • Cursing or telling stories or jokes that are sexually inappropriate
  • Telling inappropriate secrets or inappropriate discussion of sexual encounters or desires with children
  • Unreasonably favoring or showing preferential treatment to particular children or youth to the exclusion of others

  1. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in sexual activity with an adult or another child, often in the context of a relationship of responsibility, power or control, and can include, among other things, sexual remarks, visual exposure, or physical contact.

  1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any act that results in a non-accidental physical injury. Abuse may be a single incident or repeated incidents. Physical discipline by parents of their own children, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable, not done in anger, and does not injure the child. Note: we recognize that in some European countries spanking by parents is not allowed by law.

  1. Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is characterized by an individual subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder. It includes acts of commission and acts of omission, and is generally part of a pattern of behavior. Spiritual abuse is not included as a separate type of abuse, but is evident in most cases of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Spiritually abusive behavior can include using scripture or spiritual language to control or manipulate a child, to protect the abuser, or to manage the child for the convenience of the adult.

  1. Neglect

Neglect is the maltreatment or harm of a child, through the ongoing failure to meet any or all of their basic needs for growth, development and protection — for food, clothing, warmth, shelter, safe living conditions, emotional and physical security and protection, medical and dental care, cleanliness, adequate education, socialization and appropriate supervision according to their age (chronological and developmental).  To be considered neglect, the failure to provide for these needs must cause or have a high probability of causing harm to the child’s health and development – physically, emotionally, socially, mentally, morally or spiritually.  This includes leaving a child alone or with inadequate supervision,  and is highly dependent on the developmental level and not the age of the child, as well as the length of time involved. Inadequate supervision is considered to include leaving any child under the age of 6 alone without an adult, or older, trusted teenager for any period of time; leaving a child in the care of somebody who is unable to or untrustworthy in providing adequate supervision; leaving a child/children under 16 alone overnight; and regularly leaving a child/children under the age of 16 alone for periods of time greater than 2 hours.   

Please note that certain countries may have specific laws about which age a child can be left alone and for what periods of time, which should be followed when residing in these places.

Other Inappropriate Behavior Toward Children

If an internal inquiry identifies behaviors that raise concerns regarding the treatment of a child, but do not meet the SIL definition of abuse, a conclusion of inappropriate behavior will be reached with an action plan put in place to provide accountability, mentoring, and counseling to overcome both the inappropriate behavior and its causes.

Child-to-Child Cases 

Harm caused to one child as a result of another child is not normally considered abuse. If there is significant difference in power, strength, or influence then the behaviour may be considered abuse on the part of the initiating child. If the act by the initiating child is illegal then the legal definition is used. The definitions used above to define the acts of adults are used to guide the risk assessment when establishing what has occurred between to persons under the age of 18.

Bullying or peer abuse is defined as willful aggressive behavior towards a more vulnerable child, and can include a wide variety of physical, verbal or written conduct. This would apply whether the behavior occurs face-to-face, through others, or via web/phone.

Reference Documents

Staff Behavior Policy

Staff Misconduct Response Policy

Staff Misconduct Response Standard

Staff Behavior Agreement

Overview of Staff Misconduct Response

Inquiry Guidelines

Discipline Guidelines

Dispute Resolution Guidelines

Staff Misconduct Response RACI Charts